Police forces hire nearly 18,000 cops without in-person interviews, raising safety concerns

Police forces hire nearly 18,000 cops without in-person interviews, raising safety concerns

Virtual hiring process under scrutiny

Nearly 18,000 police officers in England and Wales have been hired without a single in-person interview, sparking fears of potential risks in the force. The hiring trend continued over Zoom even after Covid restrictions were lifted, with forces resorting to virtual assessments as a temporary measure at the start of the pandemic.

Concerns over vetting and recruitment process

The alarming statistics, revealed through Freedom of Information requests, have raised concerns following the Angiolini Inquiry's exposure of serious vetting failures in the police force. Former Detective Superintendent, Shabnam Chaudhri, expressed shock at the recruitment process, highlighting the risk of individuals like Wayne Couzens or David Carrick slipping through the cracks.

Government response and ongoing reforms

In response to the revelations, Labour MP Diana Johnson emphasized the gravity of the situation. While virtual assessments were initially meant to be temporary, their continuation until at least the summer of 2023 has prompted calls for stricter recruitment protocols. A government spokesman stressed the importance of face-to-face assessments and reiterated the efforts to strengthen vetting procedures and maintain the integrity of the police force.

Continued challenges and potential risks

Despite most forces having resumed in-person interviews, concerns remain as some, including Cumbria, continue to rely solely on online recruitment. With several forces unable to provide data on virtual hires, the actual number of cops recruited through Zoom could be even higher, posing a potential threat to public safety.

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